Born in 1850 in New York, Henry E. Huntington worked for the Central Pacific Railroad, which was owned by his uncle Collis P. Huntington. After working for his uncle for twenty years, his uncle ushered him to San Francisco, so Henry could manage the Southern Pacific Railroad. While traveling to San Francisco, CA, Henry came across the J. DeBarth Shorb estate, which is also known as San Marino. Although Henry purchased this later in life, this is the current location of Henry’s collections.
After working for many years, and becoming an extremely successful railroad operator, Henry retired at the age of 60. He relocated to his 600-acre ranch, and devoted his life to his passion for books, art, and landscaping. Henry even worked alongside the architect Myron Hunt to create the Beaux Arts mansion, which is now known as the Huntington Art Gallery. Shortly after Henry’s retirement, he married his uncle’s widow, Arabella Duval Huntington. Arabella shared the same interests as Henry, and was known as one of the most influential and important art collectors of the time.
After spending nearly ten years creating a vast collection of books and art, as well as designing beautiful gardens, Henry and Arabella officially made it so their San Marino estate was in the hands of a nonprofit and educational trust. Thus, creating The Huntington. Shortly after signing off on the transfer of their collections, Henry and Arabella died within three years of each other. They are buried in the mausoleum of The Huntington. The Huntington in San Marino, Southern California - Photo: The Huntington
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